Truck Driving Safety
Truck drivers provide a vital service for any industrialized society where goods must travel from producers to distributors, retail shops, and consumers. However, these employees often work alone and are put at great risk while on the road. To avoid accidents and life-threatening injuries, all truck drivers must undergo rigorous safety training before or as soon as they are hired.
The most common risks associated with trucking include:
Driving Accidents.Due to the fact that they spend most of their time on the road, truck drivers are most likely to be involved in car accidents. Depending on the cargo and whether or not they are transporting flammable or toxic substances, such events can have devastating consequences for both the driver(s) involved and the communities they navigate. Even the most prudent of drivers can make mistakes in certain conditions. Truck drivers who work at night, drive for extended periods of time, or routinely travel in bad weather are most at risk of being involved in an accident.
Explosions and Fires.Some truck drivers, such as, for example, those who work in the oil and gas industry, transport cargo that is highly flammable and that can lead to explosions in case of collision. Even if the truck is not involved in a car accident, excessive heat generated by improper ventilation can ignite combustible liquids, vapors, or other materials and lead to massive fire outbreaks. Such events are likely to affect not only the drivers themselves, but also any nearby vehicles and communities.
Exposure to Dangerous Cargo.In addition to flammable substances, dangerous cargo may include toxic, poisonous, corrosive, biohazardous, or radioactive materials that pose an equally concerning risk to drivers. Truckers must be able to read labels describing different hazardous goods, as well as to implement measures that prevent exposure to such substances. Since truck drivers are also often required to load and unload goods, they must be able to choose the correct protective equipment and handling techniques to perform these tasks in a safe manner.
Ergonomic Hazards.Spending upwards of 8 hours per day behind the wheel of a car can put a significant strain on the human body, especially if the driver’s posture is incorrect. From back injuries to neck and shoulder pain, headaches, nerve damage, and musculoskeletal disorders, the consequences of improper posture can only be avoided if employees are taught to sit correctly and allowed to take as many breaks as necessary during long hauls. Equal emphasis must be placed on the driver’s eyesight since driving in the dark for extensive periods of time can lead to visual discomfort and an increased risk of accidents.
A safety-oriented company policy and the uncompromising training of all drivers are two of the most important aspects of incident prevention in trucking. Employees who work in a company that emphasizes safety and a healthy driving routine over long hauls are far less likely to be involved in accidents or to become injured. On the other hand, drivers who are constantly placed under pressure to make faster deliveries regardless of weather conditions and the time of day are more likely to experience fatigue, lose focus, and make costly mistakes.
In addition, many truck drivers may not be aware of the common dangers associated with their profession. Ergonomic injuries, for example, are of great concern in this sector, but continue to be underestimated by both truckers and their employees. In cases where dangerous goods are being transported, any accident can put both the driver and the public at grave risk. For this reason, employees are required by law to acquire TDG certification prior to accepting such work.
Recommended Safety Courses
To obtain TDG certification, drivers must learn how to recognize different classes of dangerous goods and how to safely handle and transport the latter. Legally speaking, no employee is allowed to handle dangerous goods without such certification.
Fire Safety & Extinguishers
All truck drivers – but especially those who routinely deliver highly flammable materials – must undergo fire safety training. Being able to assess fire hazards and implement preventative measures when working alone can save a driver’s life.
Most injuries in trucking occur as a result of car accidents. Although some accidents may be caused by other drivers, rather than by truckers, a course in defensive driving can help employees recognize and avoid potential risks.
What You Can Do to Stay Safe
Truck drivers are exposed to both immediate dangers such as car accidents and long-term health issues like chronic back pain, obesity, and diabetes. However, this does not mean that your livelihood as an employee in this sector must be affected. To maintain your health, your first step should be to undergo rigorous safety training and acquire the necessary certifications. If you have not done so by the time you were hired, it is your employer’s legal obligation to provide access to safety course for you and your colleagues.
To view a more comprehensive list of safety courses best suited for truck driving, please navigate to our Logistics (Warehousing and Shipping) industry page and select your specific job.
To review a list of safety courses for your industry, please visit our Consultation Page.